Manus Island Asylum Seekers File New Case to Win Freedom; Deportation From Australia 'Illegal'

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By Reissa Su | March 25, 2014 7:36 PM EST

Asylum seekers who are detained indefinitely in Australia-run Manus Island facility have filed a new case to win their freedom. The Papua New Guinea government has previously moved to eliminate the second human rights investigation at Manus Island.

Jay Williams, a Sydney lawyer, pushed for the new legal challenge in behalf of the asylum seekers in Manus Island. He filed the case at the Lorengau District Court on March 24 and returned to the detention center to gather the statements of asylum seekers.

The new case will argue that the detention of asylum seekers is illegal since they were deported from Australia to Papua New Guinea without their consent. They contest that their detention in Manus Island is indefinite. Asylum seekers are also expected to give statements that they are subjected to inhumane and degrading conditions.

An asylum seeker revealed the bread in the Manus Island detention center is "full of worms." A court in Papua Guinea heard detailed accounts of asylum seekers eating worm-infested bread and enduring living in a "prison-like" environment. The asylum seeker detention facility in Manus Island is run by the Australian government.

The 25-year-old asylum seeker from Iraq told the PNG court that he was compelled to pull apart the bread provided in the facility to get rid of worms. The asylum seeker was the first witness to testify before the Justice David Cannings inquiry. It was previously alleged that Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison had told asylum seekers to "not even dream about coming to Australia."

More Asylum Seeker Revelations

According to Prof. Ben Saul of the University of Sydney Law School, one of the asylum seekers in the Melbourne Immigration Centre drank bleach in an attempt to end his life, while another man tried electrocuting himself. One man also tried to hang himself using a skipping rope, while another used his own blood to write on the walls.

In 2013, the United Nations has criticized Australia for its cruel and inhumane actions and ruled that indefinite detention was in violation of UN conventions. The UN has ordered the release of the 50 asylum seekers within the week and required Australia to pay them compensation.The deadline for the UN order has expired with the Australian government showing no sign of ever following the mandate.

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